Collect: The Fielding Talk

The Fielding Talk: Alice Kettle

Friday 25 February, 13.00 (GMT)
Attend online – £8.50, via Eventbrite
Attend in person at Somerset House – included with your ticket admission

The Fielding Talk offers a unique opportunity to hear about an artist’s work in depth. For Collect 2022, Alice Kettle has created new site-responsive work, exploring the histories and narratives of royal women who have resided at Somerset House. As well as discussing this commission, she will consider the shifting role of the artist in society at a time of profound change, how thread can be a powerful way to explore themes of cultural heritage, journeys, and displacement, and how her artistic and academic works connect and enrich one another.

Collect: Somerset house

Candida Stevens gallery

We are delighted to be returning to Somerset House for the 2022 edition of Collect.

25-27 February 2022 (previews 23-24 February)

Four artists make work in response to the iconic Somerset House. Originally built as a glamorous, palatial building for Edward Seymour the Duke of Somerset in 1547, Somerset House has had many occupants; from exiled Queens and parliament offices to art galleries.

The Queens of Somerset House by Alice Kettle

From the mid 16th Century to the beginning of the 18th Century Somerst House housed the often foreign born wives of various British Kings, seen below in order:

The Queens included Elizabeth I (reign 1558 – 1603) daughter of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, who establishment the English Protestant church and is sometimes referred to as the Virgin Queen.

Anne of Denmark (1574-1619). Following James I’s accession to the English throne in 1603, the next Royal resident was his wife, Anne of Denmark. She lived briefly in Greenwich Palace before moving to Somerset House. Renamed Denmark House in her honour, she commissioned Inigo Jones and others to undertake a huge number of additions and improvements, including terracing of the garden and the introduction of an orangery. This resonated with Kettle whose recent work has been preoccupied by a newly planted garden that she watched grow over many months of working from home in 2020.

Henrietta Maria of France (1609-1669) wife of Charles I, who although modest externally, opened the most elaborate Roman Catholic chapel in a particularly grand ceremony in 1636.

Catherine of Braganza (1638-1705) wife of Charles II, who commissioned a refurbishment by Christopher Wren and opened the River Terrace to the public, then painted by Canaletto twice in c1750.


ThreadBound – Solo Show Candida Stevens Gallery

A solo show of new work by Alice Kettle.

Candida Stevens gallery

Opening reception with the artist, Saturday 16th October, 6-8pm.

The exhibition will then be open, 10am-5pm on Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays

and 11am – 4pm on Saturdays.  Please email if you would like an appointment outside of these hours.



For centuries humans have exchanged flowers as an expression of the entire emotional range and throughout art history they have been symbolic. People have long imbued flowers with personal, cultural, and religious significance and creatives have been drawn to them for their evocative qualities, “When you take a flower in your hand and really look at it, it’s your world for the moment,” Georgia O’Keeffe. In a departure from earlier works where the human figure often dominated, here it is the relationship between people and nature that takes centre stage. In these artworks, flowers are companion, inspiration and subject.  This is both a reference to the larger contemporary issue of the human impact on the environment and the personal lived experience of an artist.


Made between March 2020 and September 2021, a period of global pandemic, these artworks address the experience of being home bound and are consistent with the reaction of being preoccupied by one’s immediate surroundings. At home in Somerset with a studio overlooking an everchanging garden, these flowers were symbolic of the passing of time, progress. The work is about balance, the reciprocal relationship between human and nature. There is no dominance of humanity, the figure and the flower become blended, they are negotiating their relationship with each other and with their environment. The artist’s strong belief in the importance of creating a world in which we coexist harmoniously with nature is evident here: human faces morph with flowers, figures emerge from the plants. In others the lines between person and flower become blurred or fractured and the work becomes abstracted.


“Alliances were sealed, allegiances sworn and passages to heaven bargained for with textiles” (Schoeser, 2012). I have no doubt the same could be said for flowers, and here Kettle skilfully combines the practice for which she is internationally known with a timely consideration for our significance in the earth’s evolution.


Alice’s work draws references from the history of figurative textiles and monumental narrative tapestry. In her role as Professor at Manchester School of Art, Alice Kettle has researched the meeting place of traditional analogue stitching skills and digitised contemporary methodologies. She has developed a unique practice, creating textile works which employ a combination of stitch techniques, combining the use of antique machines from early last century with hand stitch and contemporary digital technology.  Stitch is a method of repetition, coverage and endlessness, a bit like the circularity of the seasons.

Use and Ornament, InsideOutside.House

HOUSE OF OCTAVERSILIA is a practical, creative and working 4-week artist residency at AirSpace Gallery, leading to a finished artwork / installation which will form a central part of USE AND ORNAMENT – a group exhibition – our partner activity with the British Ceramics Biennial, 2021. The residency will see Artist Collective INSIDEOUTSIDEHOUSEworking with local community groups, AirSpace studio artists and members of the general public to co-create the final installation.

note: OCTAVERSILIA is a portmanteau – an invented name derived from two imagined cities – Octavia and Ersilia found in Italo Calvino texts from the novel, Invisible Cities. OCTAVERSILIA alludes to multi-stranded concerns around fragility, repair, ecology, change, movement and travel…

The residency will draw on these texts, together with a gathering of memories, hopes, ideas and dreams from our participatory workshops, generated through making with diverse materials, objects, conversations, creative writing, film and sound.

This approach will also enable the re-use, reclaiming and re-imagining of the materials we hold around us in the everyday. In this way, our proposal thematically connects with the residency themes; recovery, respite and refuge, alchemical processes, a space for encounter, the future city.

InsideOutsideHouse aim to create an installation of an imagined space of hopes, ideas and dreams for the people of Stoke, populated with figures, sound and projection.

12, 13, 17, 19 & 25 AUGUST, 2021
(Contact AirSpace for details of how to join in)

PART ONE – creative workshops in two parts, using clay, textiles, wood, shadow projection, archive materials, objects and creative writing processes

WORLD WITHIN WORLDS PART 1: Past and present
person, place, memory, spirit
12 August, 11am-4pm
Making: clay, textiles, wood, projection, with conversations.

hopes, ideas, dreams, spirit
13 August, 11am-4pm
Writing: Conversations and creative writing processes and production, inspired by Italo Calvino texts from Invisible Cities (1972) and community contributions.
Conclude: with a mini-installation of the work produced across the two workshops.

PART TWO – audio workshops, to generate recordings of creative writing and voice, which would become part of a layered soundscape to be integrated into the final exhibition

spoken word development / creative writing
17 August: 11am-3pm

audio recording (am) and field recording (pm)
19 August: 11am-4pm

PART THREE – Rounding up

25 August, 11am-12pm
a one hour session in the final week of the residency, a live discussion of the work in progress and exploration of how the making of the whole work is developing, by sharing material practices and approaches that are emerging through the collective, together with the community participatory work.

Audrey Walker obituary

It is the end of an era with the death of Audrey Walker. A highly influential teacher and artist.

Audrey Walker obituary

You may be interested in this Oral History, a couple of links to a wider conversation included here.


Fabric of the City

Fabric of the City comprises of two linked textile artworks made by Alice Kettle Professor of Textile Arts, Manchester School of Art, in the Faculty of Arts and Humanities, Manchester Metropolitan University.